Now It's Easier to Test Your Echo Buttons Skills to Deliver Fun Experiences

Nate Schulz Sep 18, 2018
Gadgets Testing & Certification News

Editors' Note: The Gadgets Skill API is now the Echo Buttons Skill API. The interface names and underlying functionality are unchanged.

ou can now test your Alexa skills for Echo Buttons without owning an Echo device or Echo Buttons by using the Alexa simulator in the Alexa Developer Console. The simulator enables you to focus on delivering fun experiences for Echo Buttons using audio, text, and button input. Use the simulator to debug JSON requests and responses and to test template rendering, multi-turn conversations, entity resolution, dialog management, and more. Echo Buttons customers are always looking for great games to play with their friends and family and we're making it easier for you to make the next great skill they will love.

New Capabilities for Echo Buttons Skill Testing

Starting today, if your Alexa skill uses the GadgetController or GameEngine custom skill interfaces you will be presented with four simulated Echo Buttons when you test your skill using the Test tab in the Alexa Developer Console. You can use these buttons just as you would a pack of physical Echo Buttons; simply click on the buttons to send button events to your skill and display your light animations on each of the buttons during the skill session.

Alexa Blog

Gadget Events in the Device Logs

Since the Echo Buttons are integrated into the simulator environment, you will be able to see additional information in the existing Device Log output. You can use these logs to reconcile with events that your skill receives and logs.

Alexa Blog

In this example below, we launched the Quick Colors skill to test the launch request and roll call features.

Due to the natural difference between the RGB LEDs in the Echo Buttons and colors rendered in a web browser, the color represented in the simulator may not match the color rendered on the Echo Buttons. For best results, we recommend testing colors on physical Echo Buttons hardware prior to publishing your skill.

Alexa Blog

Visualize Directives in Skill I/O Output

The Skill I/O panel can be insightful when debugging or testing a skill. This continues to be true for Echo Buttons skills. You’ll be able to see your skill’s directives, including gadget directives, in its response. Please note that Skill I/O may only be available for simulated voice requests and launch requests.

Alexa Blog

Start Testing Your Echo Buttons Skills Today

  1. Log into the Alexa Developer Console, select the skill you want to test, and then click the “Test” tab.
  2. Turn on the Echo Buttons simulator widget from the options section above “Skill I/O.” Four simulated Echo Buttons will appear below the options menu.
  3. Launch your Echo Buttons skill using the Alexa Simulator tab in the left navigation pane by either clicking and holding the microphone button or by typing “open [skill invocation name]” in the text input field.
  4. You can switch between voice or text input at will as you progress through your skill session.

Echo Buttons support in the Alexa simulator is currently in public beta in the US, the UK, and Germany while development continues. For the best experience, we recommend using the latest version of Google Chrome. The Alexa simulator also works in the latest versions of Firefox and Apple's Safari. Be sure to leave us feedback in the Alexa Gadgets Developer Forum.

We're excited to bring these improvements to Echo Buttons Skill Developers, and we hope you find this addition to the Alexa simulator useful. We look forward to seeing the experiences that you create for Echo Buttons!